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Food & Drinks

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50 Things Every Hoosier Must Do!

What makes this Columbus institution really sweet is the counter-side charm of Wilma Hare and her fellow soda jerks, who will pull you an ice cream soda the way it was in 1900 and serve it with a side of sass: “When that ice cream hits the carbonation, it will explode like a volcano. And I will laugh at the look of panic on your face.”

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Coke Fiends, Rejoice

You were thinking of the sweet, bubbly variety, right? Great. If you work near the Circle and need a soda for your morning jolt … and maybe an afternoon pick-me-up … and maybe one more to pull you through a late night … you need to know about the free refills all day, every day, at The South Bend Chocolate Company. 

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Slice of Life (and Love?)

If you’ve ever jostled your way into Giorgio’s Pizza during the lunch rush, confused about where, exactly, to stand in line and whether you are the one currently being barked at to place an order, the first thing on your mind was probably not romance. But after work, as the sun starts to drop low, the popular pizzeria ups the amore factor. Staffers dim the lights that, by day, glare onto the laminated tables and well-trod tile flooring. Track lights illuminate recently installed murals depicting the kind of lush Italian scenery you wish you could jump right into, Mary Poppins–style. It’s around this time that you might suddenly notice the flowers that were always on each table, if only you’d taken time out of your hectic lunch half–hour to stop and smell them (OK, they’re plastic, but still). And the ultimate ingredient for dinner, Italian–style—red wine—is just $20 a bottle.

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Goose's New Smoking Section

An idea three years in the making, Smoking Goose (407 N. Dorman St.), a wholesale charcuterie from Goose the Market’s Chris Eley, is weeks away from its grand opening. The 12,000-square-foot space in the Holy Cross neighborhood will house sausage-making and curing equipment, and though the majority of the business will be in selling smokehouse and sausage offerings (packaged with the Smoking Goose label) to restaurants and stores around the country, Eley will open the doors to the public on select evenings, a la Friday nights at Sun King Brewery.

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Triton Brewing Company Taps In

Indy has no shortage of brand-new craft beer options, from the near-eastside’s Flat12 Bierwerks (414 N. Dorman St., 635-2337) to the far-westside’s Three Pints Brewpub (5020 Cambridge Way, Plainfield, 839-1000), which is serving beers from around the state while its own production facility is under construction.

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Cave Dwelling at Traders Point

A cheese cave is on the list of possible expansions at Traders Point Creamery (9101 Moore Rd., Zionsville, 733-1700), says cheesemaker Lindsay Klaunig. By fall, the creamery should have more concrete excavation plans for the addition, described as a 50-degree room where new products such as bleu cheese and Camembert could age to perfection. In the meantime, Klaunig wants to start aging (for four to eight months) the Fleur de la Terre, raw-milk Gouda, and raw-milk cheddar in the current TPC lineup for deeper, more interesting flavors.

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Review: Tavern on South

Given the stranglehold sports fans have on this town, as well as a certain big game Indy expects to host next winter, it’s surprising that the two-story brick storefront near the industrial corner of South and Minnesota streets remained untapped as long as it did. Little more than 100 feet from Lucas Oil Stadium, Tavern on South is a spiffy surprise—a sportingly handsome spot where your game-day eats might be drizzled with a shagbark hickory–soy syrup or arrive with a side of pistachio couscous.

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Revisit: Roll with It

Last year, Ichiban underwent a renovation that doubled the eatery’s size and added a bar and a banquet room that can hold 30 people, and yet the place feels as intimate as it ever did. The menu saw some changes, too, as owner Sammy Li explains. “We have many regulars—really beautiful people. But a lot of them are families, so they don’t order the traditional raw-fish sushi.”

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Revisit: Fancy This

The restaurant has tweaked the menu at all nine of its locations nationwide. Even the mashed potatoes (now silky Yukon Golds flavored with truffle oil) and the lobster bisque (assembled tableside for added drama) showed the alterations. The different cuts of steak, formerly just herbed and buttered, now get individual treatments, from a filet served with mushrooms and brandy-mustard sauce to the sirloin, grilled and applewood-smoked, with a mustard garlic aioli. A small note on the menu states that the steaks can instead be ordered with just a rub of rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and garlic—a simple preparation that remains the best choice.

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Review: Michael's Southshore

As a rule, suburban strip-mall eateries aren’t known for being innovators in fashion-forward decor or cutting-edge cuisine. Too often, they’re stop-off points to grab a pint or some stick-to-your-ribs grub when you don’t want to drive into the city. Something about the spacious storefront at 11705 Fox Road, nestled as it is among the tree-lined curves of Geist Reservoir and sporting sky-high ceilings and a rustic stone fireplace in the bar, always seemed to require a more substantial establishment, and while a string of eateries have tried to capitalize on the space’s charm, it wasn’t until I entered Michael’s Southshore, the latest tenant, that I felt a destination restaurant had arrived.

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Review: The Ripple Inn

If the last millennium’s culinary scene ended with the luscious aged cuts and luxe accoutrements of steakhouses, our current century’s gastronomy has begun a lot closer to home. Indy’s abundance of chophouses is getting brisk competition from a new breed of cozy but no less elegant spots serving up dishes your mother might have made—had your mother, for instance, bathed her roast chicken in champagne and chestnuts.

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Greek Revival

Taki Sawi smelled smoke early in the morning of October 12. It was a rude awakening made ruder by the fact that he was sleeping in a room across the parking lot from the ovens and burners of his Santorini Greek Kitchen. He rushed to the window to see white, then black, smoke billowing from the building and watched as his aspirations literally went up in flames. Firefighters arrived within moments, soon enough to save the building, but most of the restaurant’s interior was destroyed.

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Review: Black Swan Brewpub

A decade ago, if you had said you were opening a restaurant in Indiana with comforting farmstead dishes paired to a full 16 taps of local beers, you probably would have roused a few chuckles. A full-bodied lager to go with that root-vegetable salad? Maybe a pale ale for the trout with Brussels sprouts? Is it Black Swan Brewpub’s location just off I-70 west of the city or its stark, neo–machine shed decor that makes the proposition still a bit surprising? Whatever the case, this gastropub arrives just as the state’s ascendant beer scene is becoming a bona fide movement. Who wouldn’t want to pull off on the long haul for a plate of sweet-potato gnocchi with braised duck or a Hoosier bison burger with truffled frites?

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THE SWOON LIST: Five Things We Adore Right Now

The creamed kale at Meridian Restaurant and Bar (5694 N. Meridian St., 466-1111). Taking a counter seat at Rock-Cola ’50s Cafe (5730 Brookville Rd., 357-2233) to watch the cook give three-quarter–pound grilled tenderloins and 10-ounce hamburger patties the smackdown on the grill top.

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NEW IN TOWN: Fire by the Monon

Local food, in season, cooked right. That is the promise of Broad Ripple eatery Fire by the Monon (6523 Ferguson St.), which moved into the former L’Explorateur spot on April 1. With local wine and beer, Ball-jar drinking glasses, and tables made of wood from an old high school basketball court, owners Michelle and David Dessauer are sourcing every possible detail from the Hoosierland.

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